We've covered what session recordings are in more detail before, so make sure you read that for the complete breakdown.
Session replay is a technology that records videos of user sessions while they are in your product so you can see user behavior, bugs and other issues in context.
You can think of a session replay as watching a screen recording from your user while they are interacting with your product.
This screen recording will show you:
- Your user's mouse movements
- The pages a user visited on your website or app
- How far they scrolled down a particular page
- How quickly they scrolled
- How they interacted with elements on a page
- Where they clicked on a page
- How fast they clicked off your app or webpage
- If they showed signs of frustration, by rage clicking, for example
All of these individual interactions can add up to a larger picture about exactly how your users behave while in your product and ways you can improve it.
5 ways session recording tools can help your company
As a company, having the help of session recording tools is incredibly valuable — teams across the board can benefit, from support to CX to product and development.
Here are just a couple of ways a session replays software can help your company
- User experience analysis: Since session replay tools allow you to visualize and see how users interact with your product, they can help you identify problems and bottlenecks. You can see what a user did during their session, if they displayed signs of frustration like rage clicks, where they experienced bottlenecks and where they exited your website or web app. This knowledge can help you see where you need to make improvements to your product.
- Bug and error identification: Session replay tools can help you identify bugs, errors and other technical issues with your website or web app. By reviewing the replays, you can see what steps users took leading up the the problem (especially if your user session recording tool also has console logs, like Fullview does) and gain instant context into the cause of the issue. Your development team should also have access to the replays so they can see exactly what happened to better understand and replicate the issue without having to depend on, for eg., your support team to describe the problem to them.
- Conversion rate optimization: If users aren't taking the steps you would like them to take in your app or on your website, you can review session recordings to identify bottlenecks in your conversion flows and see the exact points at which your users are running into trouble and abandoning the process. Some session replay tools (like Fullview) also automatically detect signs of user frustration such as rage clicks and alert you to them.
- Customer support: Customer support agents need instant context into every support ticket to quickly and efficiently solve customer issues, but this context isn't always easy to get. Relying on explanations from users can be confusing and incorrect. With session recording software, your support agents can instantly review a user's latest sessions when a ticket is created to see exactly what happened during that session. Session recording tools like Fullview even plug into your existing support software (like Zendesk, Intercom and Salesforce) so you can watch user sessions directly from there. Fullview even pins the most relevant sessions to each support ticket so you don't have to go looking for them.
- A/B testing: You can segment session replays by user segment to compare and contrast the behavior of different cohorts, which is invaluable information to have when A/B testing different features, CTAs and conversion or onboarding flows. This can help you make data-driven decisions when optimizing your web app or website.
How to choose the right session replay & recordings software
Since session recording tools are more popular than ever, many players have entered the market and it isn’t always easy to identify which one solution to settle on. Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating the different solutions on the market:
- How easy is it to implement this session replay tool?
- Is it cost effective and is it scalable as the number of user sessions you have to record goes up?
- Does it have minimal infrastructure impact or is it going to negatively affect load speeds on your web app or website?
- Is it compliant and does it take data privacy/security seriously?
- Can it seamlessly fit into your existing tech stack with a robust library of integrations?
- Is that solution's customer support team helpful in case you run into any issues?
- Does it have an intuitive UI/UX?
Is this easy to implement?
Session replay tools should make the job of your developers easier, not harder. A session replay tool that is a pain to implement is no good. Look for tools with simple implementation and clear documentation. With Fullview, for example, you’ll only ever have a few lines of code to implement in order to start using our end-to-end customer support platform, including cobrowsing and session replays.
Is it worth your money?
Since most session replay tools are cloud-based and use cloud infrastructure to store and retrieve your session recordings, the pricing structure can quickly get convoluted and expensive, so make sure the session replay tool you choose is upfront about the amount of recordings you can store and watch on your plan. Fullview offers both a free and pro plan and you can store and watch session recordings on both. On our free plan, you have access to a monthly limit of 1000 recorded replays. On our pro plan, the monthly limit is raised significantly to 10,000 recorded replays. Pro plans start at $71, making Fullview one of the most cost-effective session recording tools on the market. We also offer add-ons, so you can choose to purchase extensions to these monthly limits.
Does it have minimal infrastructure impact?
The way your session replay tool records, compresses and stores user sessions can have an impact on the performance of your own platform, so it’s important to pick a tool that will have minimum infrastructure impact, working quietly in the background without drawing attention to itself. Fullview takes this seriously and will never negatively impact your product performance.
Does it take user privacy seriously?
It's crucial to consider data privacy and GDPR compliance when choosing a session replay tool. Look for a company that is transparent about its data collection practices and takes steps to ensure user privacy. Make sure the tool is compliant with GDPR regulations and offers features such as data masking or opt-out options for users who do not wish to be recorded. By choosing a session replay tool that prioritizes data privacy and compliance, you can ensure that your business is operating ethically and responsibly. Fullview ticks all these boxes, and, as one of the few session replay companies based in Europe, all data is stored on EU servers, which makes it ideal for other European countries or if you have European users.
Does it feature robust integrations?
It's also important to consider how easily the session replay tool can be integrated into your existing setup. Look for a tool that offers a range of integrations with other support, marketing and analytics tools such as Zendesk, Intercom, Salesforce or Optimizely. This will allow you to combine data from multiple sources and get a more complete picture of user behavior on your website or in your web app.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a session replay tool is the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A good session replay tool should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows you to easily navigate and analyze user sessions. Look for a tool that offers easy-to-use filtering and search options, as well as clear visualizations of user behavior data. With Fullview, you can filter and segment your user sessions by user name, date, user role, environment, rage clicks, console errors and console warnings to quickly find the sessions of interest. You can even apply custom labels to sessions and create customer views using filter combinations for ever more granularity.
Another important consideration is the level of support offered by the session replay tool company. Look for a company that is responsive and accessible, with a knowledgeable support team that can help you troubleshoot any issues that arise. Consider reading customer reviews or reaching out to the company's support team directly to get a sense of their level of responsiveness and expertise.
Session replays: industry landscape
Before we dive into the detailed breakdown below, we thought we'd give you a high-level overview of the session recordings landscape today and highlight the most prominent vendors.
We divided all solutions into four different quadrants: technical customer support, UX, DX and marketing. We then evaluated each solution based on relevance and performance.
- In the technical customer support category, we believe Fullview comes out on top because it also offers cobrowsing and console logs for a complete technical support solution and full context into support tickets. It also has integrations with support platforms like Intercom, Zendesk and Salesforce, so it can easily be adopted by a large percentage of support teams who already use one or more of those platforms.
- In the UX category, we think Hotjar comes out on top because of its price point, ease-of-use and simple UI.
- In the DX category, we believe Fullstory wins because of how comprehensive the data it captures is. Though pricy, we believe it is well worth investing in for companies with the budget and the need for a 360-degree view of their digital experience.
- In the marketing category, SmartLook's funnel analysis capabilities are a welcome addition to its session replay tool and allow marketers to see exactly what parts of their funnel are the weakest.
The best user session recording tools in 2023
The 10 best user session recording tools in 2023 are:
- Lucky Orange
- Session Rewind
Fullview - the best session replays for customer support
Fullview’s end-to-end technical support platform was designed specifically to break down silos between customer support and product teams. With features like cobrowsing, session replays and console information, Fullview makes it easy to turn customer feedback and user experience data into actionable insights that customer support agents can use to provide better support and product teams can use to deploy proactive and targeted improvements to their product.
Fullview is the only session replay vendor on this list that is based in Europe, which means that it is fully GDPR compliant and all user data is stored within the EU.
Fullview seamlessly integrates with your existing support or tech stack for when you need to escalate level one support tickets into levels two and three. Some integrations it offers are with:
and more! Visit the integrations page for more information about each one.
Pros of Fullview
- Fullview is specifically made for customer support and product teams
- Fullview also includes features like cobrowsing and console logs for better support and easier troubleshooting
- Fullview is one of the most inexpensive session replays solutions on the market, with a forever free plan and paid plans starting at $71
- Fullview is 100% GDPR compliant, with all data stored in the EU
- Fullview automatically blurs out sensitive data during session replays and gives you additional options to customize the data you want to censor
- Fullview's UI is intuitive and easy to use
- Fullview is quick to implement and lightweight, so it doesn't affect load speeds
- Fullview includes powerful filtering and segmentation options so you can find the exact session recording you're looking for
- Fullview has robust integrations with other customer support software
- You can view live user sessions (i.e. sessions that are currently taking place) on Fullview so you have the most up-to-date information
- Fullview's support team is always at the ready to help our users. We also believe in supporting you proactively and will alert you to any issues we notice immediately.
Cons of Fullview
- Fullview only works in web apps and does not work on websites
- Fullview is not suitable for marketing teams that want to do funnel analysis
- Fullview does not include a heatmap feature or customer feedback tools
Fullview Session Replays Free
The free plan from Fullview gives your organization access to 1000 recorded session replays per month, with a 7 day detention and 1 integration.
Fullview Session Replays Pro | €71/month
The pro version starts at 10,000 session replays per month with a 30-day retention period and unlimited integrations. You can purchase more session replays as an add-on in-app. We also offer a 14-day free trial.
Fullview Replays Enterprise | Custom Pricing
We offer bespoke plans for enterprise clients tailored specifically to their needs, so get in touch.
How session replay works with Fullview
As one of the best session replay tools today, Fullview is a reliable way to get into the minds of your users and learn the most effective ways to offer support. It is also one of the only session replay tools that is specifically designed for technical customer support and product teams, with the goal of breaking down silos and allowing you to transform your customer support operation from a cost center into an engine for growth.
Key features of Fullview include:
- Integrations: Fullview can be seamlessly integrated with your existing customer support and technical stack to serve as a bridge between the two. Your users will automatically be pulled into your Fullview dashboard, similar to how they are in Intercom, for example. This allows you to directly engage with them and capture the context behind support tickets before starting a call or customer support session.
- Cobrowsing and Call Capabilities: You can look up a user to call them directly and start a cobrowsing session within your app. This enables real-time collaboration and assistance.
- Call and Session History: Fullview provides a log of all the previous calls a user has had with support agents, along with a list of session replays associated with each user. This helps maintain a comprehensive record of interactions.
- Labeling and Filtering: Fullview session replays come with powerful labeling and filtering capabilities. You can create custom labels for sessions you want to find quickly at a later date and then use the search function to filter by those sessions. You can filter sessions by user, date, user role, environment, rage clicks, console errors or warnings. By combining filters, you can create custom views for filter combinations you need to access regularly.
- Understanding User Interactions: By watching session recordings, you can gain insights into how users are interacting with your product and identify pain points. Fullview allows you to skip periods of inactivity, jump straight to errors and bugs during the session, and easily share time-stamped recordings with others.
- Fullview Console Logs: Fullview provides a side panel during session replay recordings that displays user journey, network, and system information. This includes warnings, errors, and logs, giving you a complete overview of any technical glitches your users encounter. You no longer need to ask users to inspect elements or describe bugs.
The ability to understand the underlying issues behind certain situations will greatly benefit your support team and can even help improve metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and time to resolution.
By utilizing Fullview, you can streamline your support process, gain valuable insights, and provide more effective assistance to your users.
Fullview doesn’t require any downloads. All you have to do is sign up for an account and install a few lines of code to get started. Installation typically only takes about 15 minutes.
Fullview's GDPR compliance and data privacy
As the only solution based in Europe, Fullview takes GDPR very seriously and is fully GDPR-compliant to protect user privacy. All data is stored within the EU. GDPR-sensitive information is automatically blurred out during cobrowsing calls and session replay recordings. You can further customize the data fields you want to censor. We also provide data collection agreements to our users.
Fullview has a 4.7-star rating on G2.
"Fullview helped us navigate through replays of the customers using our product, and this only helped us discover and rectify hundreds of bugs and glitches in the product. We even found few issues which otherwise had passed our internal test suites and QA."
As a DXI (Digital Experience Intelligence) platform, FullStory is a complete package worth using if you're looking to transform how your e-commerce and retail business treats customers. With FullStory, you're getting an integrated package that you can use to ensure that members of various departments in your organization are provided with valuable insights about how to increase retail conversion rates.
Data collection with FullStory is pretty impressive as the app has the ability to auto-capture interactions retroactively, giving you a backdrop that shows why certain things tend to be the trend with users.
All events with FullStory are captured and indexed in a tag-free format. Within the snippet of code, your teams can quickly breeze through the information for the most minute details, including mouse movements, clicks, dynamic state changes, and more.
The recording playback tools with FullStory are also worth checking out as you can quickly skip through periods of inactivity during recordings.
Pros of FullStory
- FullStory's feature set is robust
- FullStory is relatively easy to implement
- FullStory has a user-friendly interface
- FullStory is great for enterprise companies who want a very comprehensive picture of their DX
Cons of FullStory
- FullStory is expensive and does not have transparent pricing information listed
- FullStory is not automatically GDPR-compliant
- FullStory captures a lot of data, which can be overwhelming to make sense of and analyze. This is especially true for companies in the startup to SMB range.
Enterprise | Contact FullStory
This plan is designed for use by multiple departments within an organization, providing total clarity on its digital portfolio and customer behavior. This plan has a demo available, and the actual price varies, with most users reportedly paying around $800 per month.
Business | Contact FullStory
This is a plan for teams looking for actionable data to learn about new trends, create customer journeys and provide a perfect user experience. There is a demo that can be used upon contacting FullStory. Alternatively, there's also a 14-day free trial available.
GDPR compliance and data policy with FullStory
Ensuring GDPR compliance is a little more complicated with FullStory than a solution like Fullview. Check out FullStory’s documentation to ensure that you're not breaking any rules under GDPR while using it. You will need to manually ensure that all the data you are processing follows these rules, which is the major drawback that a solution like Fullview doesn't suffer from since it is based in Europe and all data is already stored on EU servers.
Session replays, or "recordings" as Hotjar prefers to call them, allow you to view user activity on your website. One of the most valuable of these tools is the heatmap feature which visualizes user behavior and mouse clicks in a way that is similar to thermal imagery — areas of high activity or clicks are shown in red, and areas of low activity or clicks are shown in blue. By showcasing user activity through the heatmap feature, Hotjar has become very useful for UX designers who wish to prioritize areas of interest. By seeing what works in attracting users, Hotjar will ensure that your teams can do a fantastic job at improving landing pages on your website.
The recordings feature can be used to give you a complete picture of user activity and the ability to experience your website through the eyes (or mouse clicks) of your users.
Pros of Hotjar
- Hotjar includes features like heatmaps and feedback tools, which makes it extra suitable for marketing and UX teams
- Hotjar has a forever free plan and its paid plans are reasonable
- Hotjar has an easy-to-use UI
Cons of Hotjar
- Some users have reported issues with Hotjar's screenshots or data accuracy
- Some users have reported that the session recordings lag during viewing
- Hotjar's session recordings take time to process, so you cannot view ongoing user sessions
Hotjar is a Session Replay app with eight different pricing plans separated into two different categories. Ask and Observe. They recently introduced Engage as well.
For session replays specifically, you'll want to choose one of the observe plans. It has four different tiers: free, plus, business and scale. The basic tier is free and includes 35 daily sessions with the ability to visualize user behavior through Heatmaps and recordings. Observe Plus includes everything in Observe basic plus API access and up to 3,000 session recordings monthly. It is priced at $32. Observe Business has everything in the Observe Plus package, along with some custom-built integrations, frustration and confusion signals from users, and an Identify API to track custom user attributes. Observe scale includes unlimited daily sessions along with the presence of a dedicated customer success manager.
As you can tell, Hotjar's pricing is flexible, but with so many plans and tiers, it can be difficult to know exactly which one to choose.
GDPR compliance and data privacy with Hotjar
Hotjar is fully compliant with GDPR rules.
Smartlook includes a funnel analysis feature, making it great for marketing and UX teams. It is also a pretty straightforward and relatively easy app to implement and use. Session recordings are presented in a simple interface that allows you to filter various components, including location, events, OS, and other things. These filters make it easier to streamline points of concern or priority while trying to improve the quality of your service.
Pros of Smartlook
- Users have praised Smartlook's segmentation capabilities
- Smartlook is great for marketing teams because of its funnel analysis capabilities
- Smartlook is affordable and has a free tier
Cons of Smartlook
- Some users have mentioned that data sometimes disappears
- Smartlook's heatmaps do not display the percentage of people who clicked somewhere, only the absolute number.
The free plan for Smartlook provides users with 1,500 sessions monthly, allowing them to view 3 heatmaps, 2 events, and 1 funnel.
Startup | $31/month
This plan includes 5,000 monthly sessions and the ability to view 10 heatmaps, 4 events, and 1 funnel.
Business | $93/month
With the business plan, users have access to 15,000 monthly sessions, along with 30 heatmaps, 12 events, and 4 funnels. You can upgrade these limits by contacting the Smartlook team.
Ultimate | Contact Smartlook
The Ultimate plan offers custom features for organizations according to their needs. The pricing model differs, so get in touch with their team to work out something custom.
GDPR compliance and data privacy with Smartlook
Smartlook is compliant with CCPA regulations, which are similar to the GDPR but primarily enforced in the state of California.
Dynatrace - Best visitor interaction insights using AI
Dynatrace is an innovative application performance management software that can greatly benefit organizations of all sizes. With Dynatrace, you can easily monitor and optimize the performance of your applications, infrastructure, and user experiences. Utilizing cutting-edge AI and automation tools, Dynatrace provides real-time insights into the health and performance of cloud environments, no matter how complex they may be.
- Provides real-time visibility into application performance across complex environments
- Uses AI and automation to detect and diagnose issues quickly
- Offers end-to-end monitoring, from application code to user experience
- Provides detailed insights into user behavior and preferences
- Expensive, especially for small businesses or startups
- It can be complex and time-consuming to set up and configure
- Requires specialized expertise to use effectively
Pricing for Dynatrace starts at $0.08 per hour for an 8GiB host.
GDPR compliance and data privacy with Dynatrace
Dynatrace has disclosed that its product and policies are compliant with GDPR on its website.
Datadog - Easy organization of session replays
Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring and analytics platform that provides real-time insights into IT infrastructure, applications, and logs. It allows organizations to monitor their entire tech stack, including servers, databases, networks, and cloud services, in one place. Additionally, Datadog makes it easy to organize and search session replays. With Datadog, users can easily filter replays based on specific user interactions or page views to quickly identify performance issues or areas for improvement.
- Provides real-time monitoring and analytics for cloud-based applications and infrastructure
- Offers a wide range of integrations with popular tools and services
- It has a user-friendly dashboard that displays metrics and data in an easy-to-understand format
- Allows for customizable alerting and notification settings
- It can be costly for small businesses or startups
- Some users have reported issues with slow query times and inaccurate data
- It may require some technical expertise to set up and configure properly
- Limited mobile app functionality compared to the web interface
- It can be overwhelming for users who are new to data monitoring and analysis
Datadog offers a free account which includes 1-day metric retention and up to 5 hosts. Paid plans start at $15 per host per month and include 600+ integrations, out-of-the-box dashboards, and 15-month metric retention.
GDPR compliance and data privacy with Datadog
Datadog has enhanced its products, processes and procedures to be compliant with GDPR and other privacy regulations. It also helps its users ensure compliance while using the platform.
Other session replay tools to consider
While we've covered the most popular session replay tools available, there are a number of other options to consider. Here are a few tools that might be worthwhile to check out:
- Lucky Orange
- Session Rewind
Lucky Orange is a dynamic heatmap tool that allows you to watch heatmaps in real-time. It enables you to see what users are doing on your website, so you can better understand their behavior and make improvements accordingly. With Lucky Orange, you can also track mouse movements, clicks, scroll activity, form submissions and more. This makes it easy to identify areas of improvement and optimize the user experience of your website.
SessionStack is a co-browsing tool that enables you to collaborate with users in real-time. It allows you to provide support quickly by seeing exactly what the user is experiencing on their screen. Additionally, it provides detailed analytics about user sessions so that you can gain insights into how they are interacting with your website or application. This helps ensure a successful experience for all users.
OpenReplay is a self-hosted session replay suite that enables organizations to capture detailed information about user interactions with their websites or applications. It records every action taken by the user and stores it securely for later review or analysis. OpenReplay also provides powerful visualizations of data which makes it easier for teams to identify areas of improvement or potential issues quickly and effectively.
Session Rewind is an advanced session replay tool that enables teams to analyze nuanced and detailed interactions with high-quality replays. It captures every action taken by the user while they are using your website or application, allowing teams to gain valuable insights into how they interact with it in order to optimize the overall experience for them. Additionally, Session Rewind provides powerful analytics tools which enable teams to measure performance metrics such as page load times or conversion rates easily and accurately.
Improve customer support and product development with Fullview Session Replays
Understanding how users interact with your web app is critical to providing excellent user experiences and superior customer support, but it can be challenging to see what's happening within your product without a session recording tool, which means you're flying blind and are likely making decisions that could harm your business.
Fullview is the solution you've been looking for. Our intuitively designed tool pulls all your user data into one place, so all your technical customer support interactions have a home and can easily be reviewed by support agents, product managers and developers.
- Cobrowse with users: Fullview Cobrowsing can be used to instantly hop on a call with a user and offer support in a real-time, collaborative way.
- Troubleshoot effortlessly: Fullview Console Logs can be used to identify technical errors and warnings, so agents never have to ask a user to inspect anything or describe a bug ever again.
- See bugs and issues in context: Fullview Session Replays gives agents the ability to understand issues even before jumping on a call with users, since Fullview replays are not anonymized and are tied to individual users, all accessible from a user’s customer page in Fullview. You can even label replays, create custom views, and find specific replays in seconds with powerful filtering capabilities.
- Improve key metrics: Fullview can help support agents and managers improve key support metrics like CSAT and time to resolution.
For product managers
- Improve onboarding: Fullview Cobrowsing can be used to improve onboarding experiences.
- See user journeys: Fullview Session Replays can be used to study the user journey and identify pain points to improve UI and UX within your web app. We auto-detect signs of frustration like rage clicks, and you can jump immediately to them while watching a session to see exactly what's causing friction.
- Improve key metrics: Fullview can help product managers improve metrics like conversion rates, user adoption, user retention and revenue growth.
- Troubleshoot effortlessly: Fullview Console Logs can be used to identify technical errors and warnings, so developers never have to ask a support agent to describe what a user is experiencing. They can also use it to send automated bug reports to other applications in their technical stack, so manual bug reporting can be minimized or abandoned altogether.
- See bugs in context: Fullview Session Replays gives devs the ability to see bugs in context, which makes it easier to understand what is happening, replicate it, and deploy proactive, targeted fixes before small issues turn into major problems.
- Deploy faster: Fullview’s console features and automated bug reporting can help developers save time and deploy fixes faster.
Wrapping things up
Session replays can be immensely valuable for companies of all sizes and in all industries. They offer a way to gain deeper insights into user behavior and can help teams across the board improve their products, support, and customer experience. When choosing a session replay tool, look for ease of implementation, value for your money, minimal infrastructure impact, user privacy, and robust integrations. Fullview is one such session replay tool built specifically so that customer support and product teams can demystify user and product issues for exceptional customer experiences.